Art Sanctuary Brings Renowned Authors and Writers to Philadelphia for 28th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival

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Festival Honors JET and Ebony magazines, and Marita Golden of the Hurston/Wright Foundation with Lifetime Achievement Award

Noted journalists, writers and performance artists from across the U.S. will join Art Sanctuary, Philadelphia’s leading African-American arts and letters organization devoted to presenting outstanding regional and national talent in the literary, visual and performing arts, for the 28th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival.

Running from May 21, 2012 to June 2, 2012, Celebration of Black Writing is the nation’s only literary festival of its kind, offering 13 days of literary discussions and workshops, music showcases, and film screenings.

This year’s celebration includes:
** Children and young adult author Jacqueline Woodson, with Philadelphia Reading Olympics youth group matinee
** A public conversation with artist and cultural planner Theaster Gates and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art curator Naomi Beckwith
** Photographer Sed Miles and the Wanderlust International travel exhibition
** Philly Youth Rising: Standing on the Shoulders’ - with performances by the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, 215 Spoken Soul, and In the Company of Poets
** Panel of female “chic lit” authors including Aliya S. King, author of Platinum and Diamond Life
** Panel discussions on Advocacy Journalism, ‘What is Urban Fiction?,’ Black Mental Health, ‘Writing from your Spiritual Axis,’ and featuring writers such as author Bernice McFadden and journalist Akiba Solomon, as well as Atria books editor Malaika Adero and activist and agent April Silver

One of the major highlights of the festival is the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, taking place on Friday, June 1. With Art Sanctuary’s yearlong theme of “Growing from Good to Great,” the organization will honor JET and Ebony magazines, with JET’s Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller accepting on behalf of both, and Marita Golden of the Hurston/Wright Foundation - all institutions that have taken writers from around the globe from good to great. Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include legendary storyteller J. California Cooper, renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni, poet Sonia Sanchez, and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles Fuller.

For almost three decades, Celebration of Black Writing has sought to deepen the city of Philadelphia's literary life and polish its tourist shine with a rich infusion of African-American writers and artists in all genres. A one of a kind literary feast, Celebration of Black Writing provides writers and artists an opportunity to discuss their work with up to 1,500–2,000 students, and another 2,000–3,000 people participate in panels, workshops, teachers' symposium, Family Pavilion, main stage, and other events. The Celebration features up to 75 professional and aspiring writers, editors, publishers, scholars, spoken-word artists, performance artists, playwrights, and filmmakers. This year, selected panels and workshops will be streamed live for the first time online, and also be archived so that new and enthusiast readers and writers can access them anytime.

Sponsors for the 28th Annual Celebration of Black Writing include Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, PECO, Temple University, WURD-900 AM, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, PRWT Services Inc., Mitchell & Titus, LLP, Tierney, and The Roz Group. New sponsors added daily.

For more information and to get a full listing of the festival’s lineup, visit http://www.artsanctuary.org or call 215-232-4485.

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Megan Smith

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